BCA Policy Committees Draft the 2014 Legislative Session Agenda

Business Council of Alabama policy committee members drafted the BCA’s legislative agenda for the 2014 legislative session during the 2013 Committee Leadership Days conference at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, covering issues from education to small businesses to taxes.

The eight policy committees drafted BCA positions for the legislative session that begins at noon, Jan. 14 in the State House. The proposed action items will be presented via conference call to the BCA Governmental Affairs Committee on Nov. 12 and its work products will then go to the BCA Board of Directors at the Dec. 6 BCA annual meeting in Birmingham.

“Our members drive the BCA’s goals, policies and actions,” said BCA President and CEO William J. Canary. “The importance of the guidance provided by our committees cannot be understated. The committees design our blueprint for the BCA in the new legislative session.”

The event that began Wednesday and ended Thursday was complemented with a Wednesday night reception honoring the Business Education Alliance of Alabama. The BEA was created this year to assist in providing the best education opportunities and skills training available for Alabama’s public school students and providing the tools that will prepare students for the competitive 21st Century workforce.

During the committee session, Canary explained the BEA will be a leader of and a complement to education in Alabama.

“It is off to a great start,” Canary said. “It’s not here to take over anything or anybody else, or to take over what anybody else is doing.”

The eight BCA committees, committee speakers, and BCA committee chairs or co-chairs, were:

Education and Workforce Preparedness – House Ways and Means Education Committee Chairman Bill Poole, R-Northport; and BEA Finance Chairman Jay Love of Montgomery, the former chairman of the House Ways and Means Education Committee. The BCA committee is co-chaired by Ronnie Boles and Bob Powers.

Environment and Energy – Former state Rep. Blaine Galliher, who is senior advisor to Governor Robert Bentley; Joel Gilbert, a partner in the Balch & Bingham LLC law firm. His practice includes federal and state environmental issues; and, State Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and co-chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The BCA committee is chaired by Tim McCartney.

Health – State Rep. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, and state Sen. Greg Reed, R-Jasper. They are chairmen of their respective House and Senate Health Committees and they sponsored the Medicaid revision legislation in the 2013 session. The BCA committee was co-chaired by Owen Bailey and Denson Henry.

Judicial and Legal Reform – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Paul DeMarco, R-Homewood; and, Oriana Senatore, vice president, policy and research, U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform. The committee chair is Debbie Long and the co-chair is Greg Butrus.

Labor and Employment – Glenn Spencer, vice president, Workforce Freedom Initiative, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; and, Alabama Commissioner of Labor Tom Surtees. The BCA committee is chaired by Freda Bacon.

Small Business – Tom Todt, district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration; and, state Rep. Jack Williams, R-Vestavia Hills. The BCA committee is co-chaired by Ron Perkins and Rick Roden.

Tax and Fiscal Policy – Sen. Bryan Taylor, R-Prattville, chairman of the Senate Constitution, Campaign, Finance, Ethics and Elections Committee; and, Sen. Phil Williams, R-Rainbow City, chairman of the Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Accountability Committee. Marty Abroms is chairman of the BCA Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee.

-Dana Beyerle